Anne Miller — Words Matter Make What You Say Pay!
ANNE MILLER
Presentation & Sales Specialist
Author | Speaker | Coach
Words Matter – Make What You Say Pay!

METAPHOR MINUTE ARCHIVE

Metaphor Minute: The $1.6 Million Metaphor

The METAPHOR MINUTE Newsletter by Anne Miller
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May 17, 2013

The $1.6 Million Metaphor

While people recognize the power of metaphors and analogies to influence and persuade, many feel, and you may be one of them, that they just aren’t talented enough to create these word images. They think, “I’m not that imaginative.” “I wasn’t a good English student.” “I’m not a writer.”

To which I say, “Hogwash!” You can be a metaphor-maker and get wondrous results, just as Greg Hopkins did.

Greg Hopkins is in technology and systems support for a bank headquartered in Connecticut. We met when he wrote to me about my metaphor book, ”The Tall Lady With the Iceberg.” One word led to another and eventually to this story about a recent sale he made with the help of a metaphor.

Anne: Who were you talking to?

Greg: I was presenting to a local University. The audience included members of the student body, the dean, members of the faculty, the director of telecommunications, and six un-named members of a consulting firm evaluating the final three vendor solutions.

Anne: What was the nature of the content?

Greg: The content consisted of a review of several key points from a 400 page Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new telephone system providing the latest voice/data/video/network technology. It also involved a discussion about dedicated service people, a dedicated engineer (me), and services included for the duration of the contract, and installation.

Anne: Where were people likely to glaze over or get totally confused?

Greg: The technology discussion and supported services would be the most difficult.

Anne: What metaphor/analogy did you use to get them to “de-glaze” and “get it?”

Greg: I decided that I could explain this information in terms of a highway, a comparison they could easily grasp.

I explained that the new technology platform was an all-in-one solution giving users flexibility to communicate anyway they needed, whenever they needed. I explained how the new technology platform was like giving all the users access to a high speed, multi-lane super highway. I went on to tell them that the super highway would be designed to handle all of the current user traffic and even future traffic demands as they increase over the next five years. I told them that unlike the Connecticut highway system, the new super highway was capable of adding new lanes quickly, easily and inexpensively to support spikes in traffic during rush hour. They were happy to learn their users would not experience grid-lock or traffic jams.

They all grinned when I mentioned there would be no accidents or collisions on the super highway.

Anne: What result did that lead to for you and your group?

Greg: We sold the total contract for a bit over $1.6 million and later generated additional revenue when we sold smaller connected systems for two of their off-site campus locations.

Anne: Congratulations!

Greg: Yes, we were very pleased. And because of the highway metaphor, the dreaded confusion or boredom I was expecting for the technical explanation turned out not to be even a bump in the road (no pun intended).

Lessons Learned
No matter what you explain -- investment processes, strategic marketing plans, long-term tax implications, therapy treatments, scientific findings, business models – you need never be concerned about losing or confusing people when you illustrate your ideas with metaphors or analogies that tap instantly and visually into what your listeners already know.

"The image always has the last word". Lawrence Simmons, writer

Make What You Say Pay — With Metaphors.
Anne Miller


Why the Market is More like Golf Than Tennis
Just as Greg Hopkins simplified his complex explanation with a metaphor for his client, Tracy Fielder, Product Management Director & Strategist Rethinking Risk at Invesco takes what is a dry and potentially confusing topic for most people and uses a metaphor to turn it into something interesting and provocative for his audience . Check out his video.

And this gem from Bill Clinton
“Being President is like running a cemetery: you’ve got a lot of people under you and nobody’s listening.” Quoted in The Granite State News, 4/11/13


Transform Your Sales Results
Buy My Book
The Tall Lady With the Iceberg: the power of metaphors to sell, persuade, & explain anything to anyone.

“Filled with fresh thinking, this book should be a "must read" for all salespeople and business leaders who want to take their communication skills to the next level.”

-Jill Konrath, Author, SNAP Selling.

*Chosen Top Sales Book of the Month for April by Top Sales World*




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Links I Like:

Great Resources:


"The best arguments
dazzle with metaphor"

Gerry Spence,
Media Commentator & Lawyer

The Original “Metaphorically Selling” that spawned a movement, now with 25 New Stories.  Available in print and as ebook Click here

Special Offer: Buy 50 copies and get a free seminar. Call 212-876-1875 or email
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7 Signs You Need A Metaphor (Visual Language)

  1. Your listener is not paying attention
  2. Your listener is stuck on an objection
  3. Your listener is confused
  4. Your listener sees no difference between you and your competition
  5. You want to drive home a point vividly and memorably
  6. You have to wiggle out of a difficult situation
  7. You want to wow or motivate a larger audience

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 "The Metaphor Minute" is a brief monthly note with examples from business, media, or politics that illustrate the power of metaphors and analogies to make a point, solve a problem, and get results. Use these stories to stimulate high pay-off metaphoric thinking in your business. © 2013. Anne Miller. -- PERMISSION TO REPRINT -- Feel free to reprint in company newsletters or articles. Just include ©2013, Anne Miller, author, "Metaphorically Selling," amiller@annemiller.com
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